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Iran 'shoots down US drone' amid rising tensions over collapsing nuclear deal
(06/19/19 11:25 PM CDT)

Iran 'shoots down US drone' amid rising tensions over collapsing nuclear dealIran's Revolutionary Guard said on Thursday it shot down a US drone amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington over its collapsing nuclear deal. The US military declined to immediately comment. The reported shootdown of the RQ-4 Global Hawk comes after the US military previously alleged Iran fired a missile at another drone last week that responded to the attack on two oil tankers near the Gulf of Oman. The US blames Iran for the attack on the ships, which Tehran denies. The attacks come against the backdrop of heightened tensions between the US and Iran following President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers a year ago. The White House separately said it was aware of reports of a missile strike on Saudi Arabia amid a campaign targeting the kingdom by Yemen's Iranian-allied Houthi rebels. Iran recently has quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium and threatened to boost its enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels, trying to pressure Europe for new terms to the 2015 deal. An oil tanker is seen after it was attacked at the Gulf of Oman Credit: Reuters In recent weeks, the US has sped an aircraft carrier to the Mideast and deployed additional troops to the tens of thousands already in the region. Mysterious attacks also have targeted oil tankers as Iranian-allied Houthi rebels launched bomb-laden drones into Saudi Arabia. All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the US and Iran into an open conflict, some 40 years after Tehran's Islamic Revolution. Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said it shot down the drone on Thursday morning when it entered Iranian airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in southern Iran's Hormozgan province. Kouhmobarak is some 750 miles southeast of Tehran and is close to the Strait of Hormuz. Iran's state-run IRNA news agency, citing the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, identified the drone as an RQ-4 Global Hawk. Iran nuclear deal | Key details Capt. Bill Urban, a US Central Command spokesman, declined to comment when asked if an American drone was shot down. However, he told The Associated Press: "There was no drone over Iranian territory." Meanwhile, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Mr Trump had been "briefed on the reports of a missile strike in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia." "We are closely monitoring the situation and continuing to consult with our partners and allies," Ms Sanders said. The Houthi's Al-Masirah satellite news channel claimed the rebels targeted a power plant in Jizan, near the kingdom's border with Yemen, with a cruise missile. Saudi state media and officials did not immediately report a missile strike on Thursday. A Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis since March 2015 in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest nation now pushed to the brink of famine by the conflict. In recent weeks, the Houthis have launched a new campaign sending missiles and bomb-laden drones into Saudi Arabia. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.


Iran shoots down US drone amid rising tensions in Strait of Hormuz
(06/19/19 11:25 PM CDT)

Iran shoots down US drone amid rising tensions in Strait of HormuzIran's elite Revolutionary Guards have shot down a US "spy" drone in the southern province of Hormozgan, which is on the Gulf, the Guards' news website Sepah News said on Thursday. State news agency IRNA carried the same report, identifying the drone as an RQ-4 Global Hawk. "It was shot down when it entered Iran's airspace near the Kouhmobarak district in the south," the Guards' website added. A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said a US military drone had been shot down in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian surface-to-air missile. The official said the drone was a US Navy MQ-4C Triton. No further details were immediately available, including the time of the shoot-down. Gulf of Oman, US responds The RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) can fly at high altitudes for more than 30 hours, gathering near-real-time, high-resolution imagery of large areas of land in all types of weather, maker Northrop Grumman says on its website. The US military has in recent days confirmed an attempt by Iran to shoot down a U.S. drone last week as well as the successful shooting down of one on June 6 by Iran-aligned Houthi forces in Yemen. A senior Iranian security official said on Wednesday Iran would "strongly respond" to any violation of its airspace. "Our airspace is our red line and Iran has always responded and will continue to respond strongly to any country that violates our airspace," the semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security council as saying. Tension between Iran and the United States has spiked since last year when President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers and reimposed sanctions on it. An oil tanker is seen after it was attacked at the Gulf of Oman Credit: Reuters Concern about a military confrontation has increased since attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week and on four tankers off the United Arab Emirates on May 12, both near the Strait of Hormuz, a major conduit for global oil supplies.   Tension between Iran and the United States has spiked since last year when President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers and reimposed sanctions on it. Concern about a military confrontation has increased since attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week and on four tankers off the United Arab Emirates on May 12, both near the Strait of Hormuz, a major conduit for global oil supplies. The United States and its regional ally, Saudi Arabia, blamed Iran for the incidents. Iran has denied responsibility. The US military has sent forces, including aircraft carriers, B-52 bombers and troops to the Middle East. However, Trump said he does not seek war with Iran. Iran said last week that it was responsible for the security of the Strait of Hormuz, calling on American forces to leave the Gulf. In protest at Trump's "maximum pressure", in May Iran said it would start enriching uranium at a higher level unless other European signatories to the nuclear deal protected its economy from the U.S. sanctions within 60 days.


President Trump briefed on missile strike in Saudi Arabia, spokeswoman says
(06/19/19 10:09 PM CDT)

President Trump briefed on missile strike in Saudi Arabia, spokeswoman saysU.S. President Donald Trump has been briefed on the details of a missile strike in Saudi Arabia, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Wednesday. "We are closely monitoring the situation and continuing to consult with our partners and allies," Sanders added. Earlier, Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis said they had struck a power station in Al-Shuqaiq city, in the Saudi province of Jizan, with a cruise missile, according to the group's Al Masirah TV.


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